As we pen this posting, a potentially catastrophic typhoon storm is bearing down on the eastern coast of India.
Typhoon Phailin has increasingly intensified off the coast in the Bay of Bengal and is expected to strike the coastal region of India either Saturday evening or nighttime, local time. While some forecasters differ on the sheer size and power of this storm, it is clear that this is the fiercest cyclone to threaten India since 1999 when a cyclone killed 10,000 people. Phailin’s peak winds have increased 80 miles per hour in just 18 hours, which weather scientists describe as astonishing and rare.
Upon reading various reports of the sheer size of this storm, it should obviously be taken rather seriously by all those in the path. Satellite images indicate an area the size of India, and some weather forecasters have already compared the sheer size and power to that of Hurricane Katrina that struck the United States Gulf coast in 2005. The storm packs maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour (260 km/hour) and is being cited as Category Five, or Super Cyclone status. One report quotes weather experts as predicting that this storm will bring “catastrophic” storm surge of up to 20 feet (6 meters) along with devastation in the direct path of this storm. “It would place millions of coastal residents in a perilous situation”
Tens of thousands coastal residents have already been evacuated or moved to shelters and the government of India is broadcasting additional warnings and making further preparations. Beyond predictions of human casualties, there are also concerns for power, water and transportation service interruptions that could extend for lengthy periods. The Port of Paradip suspended cargo operations on Friday and all vessels were ordered to evacuate.
Reports this evening indicate that neighboring Bangladesh may not be directly impacted by severe winds but could be subject to heavy rains, depending on the ultimate path of this storm.
We certainly extend our thoughts and concerns to all those within the path of this severe storm.
Logistics professionals should be prepared for a huge relief effort in the wake of the size of this storm.